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GM ON THE BRINK OF BANKRUPTCY

CAR giant General Motors (GM) was last night teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, as it failed to win enough support for a $27.2bn (&pound;17bn) debt-for-equity deal with its bondholders.<br /><br />Creditors had until midnight US time last night to accept a deal which would give them 10 per cent in a restructured GM, in return for clearing their debt.<br /><br />But the largest US&nbsp; automaker has failed to secure anywhere&nbsp; near the 90 per cent of bondholder support needed to stave off bankruptcy.<br />Without bondholder support, GM&rsquo;s attempts to restructure will fail, forcing it to file for chapter 11.<br /><br />GM had been given until 1 June to cut its debts, which include $20bn owed to the United Auto Workers (UAW) union healthcare fund as well as the $27.2bn owed to bondholders.<br /><br />But in spite of losing bondholder support, GM yesterday managed to secure a tentative deal with the UAW union&rsquo;s bosses. <br /><br />If GM is not forced into bankruptcy, it will give the UAW up to 20 per cent of common stock, $6.5bn of preferred shares and a $2.5bn guarantee, which would fund a trust to take over retiree health care costs starting next year.<br /><br />Meanwhile in Germany, where the carmaker is selling off GM Europe, Canada&rsquo;s Magna emerged as a favourite buyer for the brand, which consists of Vauxhall and Opel.<br /><br />The car-parts maker is mulling shifting the production of Opel&rsquo;s Astra from Belgium to Germany.<br /><br />A final decision from GM on a buyer is due today. Germany, which is providing a &euro;5bn (&pound;4.39bn) loan guarantee to the programme, will also be involved. Magna is up against Italy&rsquo;s Fiat, Brussels-listed RHJ International and a new bidder, Chinese carmaker Beijing Automotive Industry Holding (BAIC), in its bid for GM Europe.<br /><br />Business secretary Peter Mandelson said the&nbsp; government had &ldquo;not ruled out making a financial contribution&rdquo; to help secure the future of carmaker Vauxhall amid fears Germany would seek to protect domestic jobs at the expense of the two UK car plants.